Epic birthday gift for Platt

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The two teams have now won two on the trot, having been successful in the prologue in Durbanville on Sunday.

For Platt, the win was a perfect celebration of his 38th birthday, while the victory by South Africa’s De Groot and Sweden’s Stenerhag surprised many as they had been trailing the Swiss-Dane team of Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad (Spur-Specialized) for a large part of yesterday’s 108km stage.

They caught Langvad and Kleinhans, winners of the previous two editions of the Epic, five minutes from the end of the stage to beat them by 39.9 seconds.

Former winner Sally Bigham and Adel Morath (Topeak Ergon) were third, five minutes and 50 seconds behind.

De Groot said: “We were lying second... well, we were with Annika and Ariane for a little while but then they got ahead of us. Jen and I had settled on coming second today. We never gave up, rode within ourselves.

“Around five minutes from the finish we saw the helicopter and we saw Annika and Ariane, and thought if we started pushing it a bit we could catch them. Once we caught them, we wondered if we should sit on them and have a sprint at the end, but you don’t want to do that. We saw a weakness and we capitalised. I looked back, Jen was ready and we had to go.”

The Acendis Health team have a slender 58.1secs gap on Spur-Specialized, with Topeak Ergon over seven minutes adrift.

When Huber was asked what he had given Platt for his birthday, he smiled and said: “A stage win.” It was, agreed Platt, the perfect gift, a win that had only been guaranteed near the end as they held off a hard-charging Topeak Ergo team of Austrian Alban Lakata and Czech Kristian Hynek, who finished just 38.5secs behind them in second. Team Dolmiti Superbike’s Greek/Portuguese team of Periklis Ilias and Tiago Jorge Ferreira Oliveira were third 1:43.8 behind.

“It is unbelievable. It was already a nice present to be in yellow today, but this is a nicer present,” said Platt, who will start with a lead of almost three minutes on the general classification on the second stage today.

Original source: Epic birthday gift for Platt

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